Mark Goffeney (born 1969) is an American musician from San Diego, California, known as “Big Toe” because, being born without arms, he plays guitar with his feet. He is bassist and vocalist for the 'Big Toe' band and played the principal role on Fox Television's Emmy-nominated commercial 'Feet'.
Born in San Diego, Goffeney was raised in a musical family. By age nine he was attempting to create his own music despite his handicap, but choosing an instrument proved to be a challenge. For a while he played trombone in the school band, and then his father brought home an old guitar he had found at a garbage dump. Goffeney asked a guitar-playing neighborhood friend for instruction. The guitar had only four strings.
With his friend's help, Goffeney developed his own technique, learning guitar and bass. He would lay the guitar on the ground, supporting the neck with whatever he could get his feet on. He would strum with his left foot and make chords with his right.
By early adulthood, Goffeney was committed to a career in music. In 1992 he founded the band "Big Toe" with another guitarist, and by the end of the 1990s had successfully completed his first CD, titled Big Toe, sponsored by PSB Records and produced by Steve Dudas, the former producer for Aerosmith.
Goffeney has achieved ongoing success as a performer, speaker and television personality. He has been recognized for his work internationally and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1999 for his principal role in the Fox Network commercial "Feet".
Goffeney has been performing internationally also, performing, for example, on "Lippe blöfft" (ARD TV in Germany) as an opening act for LeAnn Rimes. The station forwarded over 100 emails received the day following the show from viewers wanting Goffeney's CD. To date, CDs have been mailed to fans in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
An Ability magazine profile describes him his way:
Several years and many record sales later, Goffeney is no longer an amateur performer. He has appeared on television as an actor and a musician, and has spoken to audiences all over America advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. He played the principal role on FOX's Emmy-nominated commercial Feet. The advertisement, aired during the 2000 and 2001 Super Bowls, was for the NFL website, and it told the story of a character named Roger who was so obsessed with the website that he did everything else with his feet—including changing his baby's diaper.
Goffeney and 'Big Toe' also appeared in StarTomorrow, an online-only musical talent search premiered on NBC and NBC.com on July 31, 2006 competing with 92 bands head-to-head competition on a weekly basis. 'Big Toe' made it to the semi-finals of the competition.
"Big Toe" CD
In 1999, seven years after he and a friend established the 'Big Toe' band, PSB Records signed the band to a CD deal on the condition that Goffeney work with Steve Dudas, former producer for Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne and Ringo Starr, to refine the songs for the band's self-titled album. At an interview Goffeney recalled him to be very professional, and that at the time Dudas let him know "in no uncertain terms" that he needed to listen to him.
The "Big Toe" CD is a collection of Mark Goffeney's original songs. It was featured in the San Diego Reader's "Best of the Best".
- Mark Goffeney on Big Toe website
- 'Guitarist with no arms faces reality TV' By Larry Knowles, Vyuz San Diego, September 11, 2006
- 'The World at His Feet: Mark Goffeney' on ABILITY Magazine.
- Mark Goffeney on footguitar.com